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Idea: A new design philosophy for scenarios and maps

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I was totally excited when I heard from this new development today and for the whole day my mind circled around what could be possible with a wholly new game.

And considering the lack of satisfying single-player experience and the large amount of work that had to go into mission creation in previous titles, I would suggest a new approach to basic things like what a map or scenario is and what it entails.

My view on this is, that a map should not only depict cities or bases as sets of 3D models but these should be entities with real needs. Say for example some map around a random island in the Pacific that has one city or town, maybe a small industry and a military base. The industry, the town and the base are in reality some entities that need something and that produce something. With this in mind, certain needs could be implemented that automatically necessitate certain actions like supply movements to the base or merchant traffic in- and out of the base. Of course with some modifiers so that not every mission presents you a cargo ship or army lorries on a road carrying supplies to a front line. 

The game engine then could automatically spawn units in the world that are bound to satisfy these needs, maybe along pre-determined supply routes on sea or through use of road networks on land. All the mission creator has to do would then be to set certain thresholds to be attained instead of scripting each and every unit individually. The same could be true for airbases. You just specify the number and types of planes stationed there, a certain amount of ammunition, fuel, spare parts on hand and so on, all through a nice context menu of an "entity" of a certain type.

More than just to ease up mission creation, this philosophy of a persistent world that acts in the background could also be utilized for a dynamic campaign, then the supply status of an airbase is taken over to the next mission and if it is empty, the base can't launch mission, if the supply convoi gets sunk, it will be out of order for a longer time, if it reaches the base for example at night, then your next mission over this target will meet opposition again.

The system could be equipped with certain values on reinforcements, supply situation etc. that determine the opposition to be expected and the player finds himself in an environment that on one hand remembers his deeds and also presents a limit on what his role can entail. In a somewhat simplified simulation of events, an "off-map" timeline unfolds and while the player is landing his plane from a mission, a nearby airbase has just launched a raid on an enemy convoy, its automatically launched recon planes have sighted. The outcome of this will then be processed by the engine and presented to him with his next briefing or even be in direct correlation to his next mission, like searching for survivors in the water and reporting them, so rescue efforts can be launched.

I think with all the possibilities that we had in the past, implementing this as an automated unfolding of events is of managable complexity and makes it future-proof because these are all aspects that happen in reality and are not dependent on a certain time in history or a certain theatre, it is a universal truth. Having a map be a set of interacting entities would not only boost variety on quickly generated single player missions but really create an environment that feels real and that without the need for painstaking scripting of minor surroundings that still are a must if you want to put life into your world.

To give you an example of what it would look like in the game:

1) You choose "quick mission" and determine a type, say "recon".
2) You are given a certain search arc, other planes of the unit are also going out on their arcs.
3) You spot a cargo or combat vessel and report your sightings.
4) The engine then determines a base in range, processes your report and automatically launches a strike to your reported location + the predicted lead that was given with your course and speed data.
5) You can then attack yourself or just watch the consequences of your report.

All this because the air bases, harbors and cities have needs that need to be satisfied and thus trigger certain logistical movements that are the foundation of all that is. Same could then be made for military actions, which are determined by a certain "victory value" of these locations and in this way spawn surface or air raids every now and then.

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